Thousands register to run virtual New York City Marathon to raise awareness of ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine – The Ukrainian Weekly


Ukrainian paratroopers ran a marathon in New York City, located in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, to raise awareness around the world of Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine. Press service of the 81st Ukrainian Airmobile Brigade

KYIV – More than 33,000 people have signed up to run a marathon centered around New York City that event organizers say no one wants to run.

Perhaps this is because the marathon is linked to the village of New York, located just a kilometer from the war zone in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

Organizers of the event are using the marathon to raise awareness and support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.

War correspondent Andrii Tsaplienko runs the marathon in New York, no one wants to run. Alexander Chekmeniov

While the marathon organizers have used the Ukrainian village of New York as part of their promotional campaign for the event, since November 7, anyone can register and walk a symbolic distance anywhere in the world to support Ukraine. The project has already gathered more participants than the New York Marathon. In fact, the event exceeded the organizers’ expectations and they had to close registrations, although they can still participate in the event by visiting the marathon website.

“The world’s attention to the Russian-Ukrainian war is fading day by day. To get it back, we are running another race, the No One Wants to Run Marathon in the Ukrainian village of New York, ”said Yaroslava Gres of PR agency Gres & Todorchuk, who is co-organizer of the event.

It has been seven years since Russia forcibly annexed the Crimean Peninsula and launched a war that continues today in eastern Ukraine. It de facto occupied two Ukrainian regions, an area of ​​over 6,000 square miles, forcing more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes and 3 million to seek daily humanitarian aid. These facts about the war are written on the bibs that participants wear as they run.

“I ran the distance in Paris. The fact on my sticker is that 1.5 million people have lost their homes and are displaced. The first runners covered the distances in Istanbul, Berlin, Vienna, Dubai, Ankara and New York. Let’s make ourselves visible. Let us remind everyone of our war, the endless marathon that Ukrainians overcame for eight years, ”Ms. Gres wrote on her Facebook page.

“For the Ukrainian people, it is a daily race to survive with no finish line in sight. Without any support, it’s an exhausting task, ”the marathon organizers said on the event’s website.

This is why the Ukrainians decided to start their own marathon in New York, in a small Ukrainian village located in the Donetsk region, less than a mile from the front line. The city, which now has 12,000 inhabitants, was previously named Novgorodske by Soviet authorities after World War II. For years, city officials campaigned to change the name, and on July 1, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine decided to settle the matter and officially name the village New York.

The settlement appeared in the 18th century, and at the end of the 19th century, Mennonite Germans established a larger settlement there. Tsarist authorities invited Protestant Christians to cultivate Ukrainian lands and other parts of the Russian Empire. The Mennonites named one of their settlements New York. Later, machine building and foundry factories and a school appeared in the city.

For the first five runners in the marathon, this war is now an integral part of everyday life. А A soldier, volunteer, army medic, war correspondent and internally displaced person (IDP) urge the world to join them in their flight.

To support Ukraine, the organizers called on all those interested to register for the New York Marathon No One Wants To Run by visiting the event’s website at www.marathonnoonewantstorun.org/en.

Andriy Konderevych ran the New York City Marathon on November 7, and in doing so, he simultaneously competed in the No One Wants to Run Marathon. Courtesy of the Ukrainian Running Club of New York

Organizers urged individuals to execute him anywhere, anytime and to publicize the situation in the territories occupied by Russia. Each person who signed up received a marathon “starter pack” which included a collection of facts about the war. In addition, a marathon medal with an encrusted piece of ball from eastern Ukraine was presented to each participant as a thank you for helping the Ukrainians reach the finish line and feel that they are not. not run their marathon alone.

Among the first five participants was journalist and special envoy Andriy Tsaplienko, who has covered events on the Russian-Ukrainian war front over the past seven years. In March 2014, when Russia first occupied Crimea, its film crew in Sevastopol was arrested by armed men. They Mr. Tsaplienko out of his car, took his equipment, put him on the asphalt and started firing shots in an attempt to psychological pressure on the man. Shortly afterwards, the correspondent and his colleagues were released, but it was then that Tsaplienko realized that a turning point had been crossed.

“When the war lasts for seven years, news about it becomes obvious. Every day we have deaths; every day we have injuries. It’s scary that everyone is used to it. Let’s get tired of running this marathon, but we cannot stop. If Ukraine falls, the whole civilized world will fall. We have no choice but to keep this front open for everyone, ”Tsaplienko said.

Paratroopers from the 81st Ukrainian Airmobile Brigade also took part in the marathon.

“In order to draw public attention to the war in eastern Ukraine, our paratroopers took part in the marathon by running it in the village of New York, in the Donetsk region, one kilometer from the line. front, “said the press service of the airmobile brigade. .

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has said it supports the project. Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko participated in the project by running a marathon in one of London’s parks.

“We are receiving applications from Germany and New Zealand, Great Britain and Peru, American New York and Ukrainian New York. Entire families, businesses of friends and colleagues have signed up for the race, ”said Ms. Gres.

“There are participants who plan to run 42 kilometers, and those who can overcome 1 kilometer. Some participants plan to run 427 kilometers together – that’s the length of the dividing line and those who run from city to city. At the same time, we have participants who have run on different continents, in different time zones, migrants have run, volunteers, military, doctors, writers, managers, lawyers, students, schoolchildren, retirees. They are running to bring the war in Ukraine to the attention of the world community, ”Ms. Gres wrote on her Facebook page.